Thursday, March 31, 2016

Secret to Flat Abs

I have experimented it severally and that is why I am here. I love the mantra that says "abs are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen", and on your plate.

Let us start from the anatomy of abs and then move on to what happens to either create the 'bulge' or the 'packs' we get at a time or the other.

The abdominal is made up of different muscles on the front, side and middle of the abdominal area. When we think of the abs, most of us are focused on the flat muscle that travels down the front of the belly, from just below the chest to the pelvic area. This muscle, called the rectus abdominis, is often called the "six-pack," because there are three tendinous creases there that separate the muscle, giving it that washboard look.

The rectus abdominis is responsible for spine flexion, which involves bringing the shoulders toward the hips, as in a crunch, and is involved in most abdominal exercises like crunches. Which, frankly, are my least favorite exercise for the abs. What I like? More functional, standing ab exercises.

There are other muscles besides the six-pack, though.

The internal and external obliques are located on either side of the body, attaching on to the ribs, and are responsible for spine flexion and rotation. Whenever you turn or rotate the torso, the obliques are involved. The external obliques run diagonally (in the same direction as if you were putting your hand in a pocket), and the internal obliques lie under and almost at a right angle to the external obliques.

The transverse abdominis is actually an internal muscle forming the innermost layer of the abdominal wall. This muscle wraps around the spine and is involved in abdomen compression, rather than movements of the torso. (culled from

Excess calories turns to fat and stores in the body including the walls of the belly and how much of fat sitting in your belly depends on the your body shape, for example apple shaped or endomorphs have the tendencies to have more fat in this part of the body than other places and they are at greater risks of heart disease and diabetes.

It is important to note that you cannot spot reduce an area of your body. Losing body weight generally will have a great impact on your internal organs and your abs too. Cardio helps to lose weight and strength training tones the body, so these two forms of exercises can be of great help.

However the best help that can be done to reduce the fat in the body is to reduce how much food you consume and especially the ones you would not be needing. Either you cut down on your meals or your create a deficit with your activities.

It is important to note some steps to take in reducing your abs size or in keeping it firm and strong if it's already flat.

1. Reduce food portions: Overeating any food will convert the calories not needed into fat and one of the very places the deposits of fat starts are the internal organs. When your organs increases in size due to your diet, you realize the first place to react is the walls of your abs, it maybe slow or fast but the distention might be so unnoticed and maybe too bad before you realize it. Calculate your BMI, BMR and you will be able to determine what you need in a day.

2. Reduce Carbohydrates (I am so guilty of this): High intake of carbs especially simple carbs like all the "white carbs", sugar, sweets etc leaves behind just fat and the packs disappears to show a rounded unhealthy belly. Instead try complex carbs and fibres.

3. Be Active: There is a lot of happenstance to a body that is not active. I always likened it to an unused car, it will look neat and beautiful but the day when the need for a use arises the tires burst suddenly for inactivity. That is what could happen to the body that is not exercises, it keeps deteriorating with fat accumulation. Even when there is no time to workout, make sure to be active like walking instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevators, clean your house yourself, play with the kids etc.

4. Core Exercises: Having flat abs is not a guaranteed super health but it could be a good sign that the internal organs are in good condition, a strong core is equally very important. Your core helps you to stand straight and strong, so exercising this part of the body gives you a good posture altogether. Crunches, Russian Twist, Side Bends etc are all good to strengthen the core.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Week 4 Weigh in: 170.2lbs

I had an 0.4lbs weight gain between last week and today. I am not surprised because "it's not possible to keep doing the same things and expecting different results".

All my plans to take my workout up a notch last week was forfeited by some factors beyond my control, "weather" (over 37 degrees celcius and over 27 at night). I hate making excuses but I seemed to be very helpless at this point, the scotching sun during the day and the humidity at night is quite overbearing.

According to a previous plan, I intended utilizing the mornings but they are as equally humid as the nights too. The effects of all these is low morale and total body debility and I don't feel encouraged to do anything.

It looks to me that my mind is not working neither is my body. I am presently on intermittent fasting and I am consistent with it, but I also think I eat too much while breaking the fast and it is really jeopardizing my efforts of the fasted periods.

I have decided to pray about it, I need God to help me lose weight, I know He is interested in my well being and He is has promised to answer if I believe (I am not joking about this).

All that said, below is my chart for the month of March both for Intermittent Fasting and Weekly Exercises:

But there is a success in these all, my clothes are much loser and that gives me some gratification.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week 3 Weigh in: 169.8lbs

It's another weigh in today and I am happy with the results - 169.8lbs.

I overate over the weekend but IF helped me and here I am back to my pre-TOM weight and a little more.

I usually mindfully measure my body before climbing the scale, what I means is this, there is a feel of lightness and when I weigh in I find that the scale is down and the same happens when the scale will go up. This is an indication that I am in charge on this matter, nobody will do this for me. I need just a little discipline and I will surely get it right and anybody can too.

Last year, I was down to 162.8lbs, I could almost not believe my eyes that day but it was there and I am making a determination today (3/23/2016) that nothing will stop me again till I get back to this number between now and the 13th of April, 2016.

Some things worked last year and it will work again, I was under some discipline last year and it worked. Here they are:
  • Bread is a bane to my weight loss success and therefore, no bread till weekends.
  • I need over 250 minutes of fitness minutes per week to lose weight
  • Intermittent Fasting is of great help to my losing weight, I was doing 18:6  5 days a week and 21:3 twice a week (I may revert back to that but not now). I do 16:8 almost daily now.
  • I have a working meal plan
  • No food was avoided, I only controlled portions and was strict with it.
  • I tracked every food and workout.
  • I was determined to it.

The question we all need to ask ourselves is if it was working why did we stop? I can only answer for myself and that is:

1. Life got in the way (just became emotionally busy)
2. Saboteurs discouraged me from going on (I have learnt my lesson anyway)

I had some positives from a low scale last year and I want those rewards again. I promise to be as positive as possible to meet this goal in 3 weeks time (7lbs), i.e. a 2lbs loss per week.

Women and Water Weight

On a monthly basis, for every fertile pre-menopausal woman, there is an Aunt Flow (sorry TMI). Personally, the flow bugs me less unlike the extra baggage that comes with it consistently, I refer to the "water weight" or bloating that accompanies TOM.

I feel really discouraged seeing my weigh ins going back and forth, up and around the same numbers. It can be as bad as over 3lbs (1.5kg) during this period, I know that I will loose the so called "water weight" the following week but I really wish to be out of this jingling over the same weight range for months.

It is a fact that right now I am in a plateau of some sort but the spike during periods gets to me a lot and I could start bingeing if care is not taken and some mental exercise done to curb it. 

I also realized that a few days before TOM, the morale to exercise and energy levels are so low and the week after TOM brings on some unexplained hunger that keeps me eating without caution.


SELF Magazine has helped to explain the magic that happens to bring on the cravings, bloating, weight gain and loss during a woman's cycle. It goes thus:

Menstruation: When your period starts to flow, chances are you feel crampy, bloated, fatigued and moody. On the plus side, when you’re actively bleeding, your body is sloughing off the uterine lining and preparing for a fresh cycle. As the days go on, hunger and cravings dissipate, you lose the bloat (and any excess pounds). In fact, you’re at the lowest weight of the month right after you stop bleeding. Enjoy it while you can!

Follicular Phase: Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, the follicular phase is all about fertilization. Your body is working hard to naturally select the perfect egg (at least for this month), and estrogen levels are on the rise. Unfortunately, estrogen and weight gain often go hand in hand. What’s more, as the uterine lining gets thicker to welcome a fertilized embryo, you may tack on a little weight as a result (think one-quarter to one-half pound).

Ovulation: As you near ovulation, you may feel more energized and in tune with your body. But you may notice some bloating and fuller breasts, too — and that equals more weight gain! Some women experience water gain in response to hormones during this time of their cycle.

Luteal Phase: The beginning of this phase is relatively uneventful. Any ovulation-related bloat usually vanishes within a few days. But then, a few days later, the PMS-madness begins. Not only will you feel hungrier (as your body prepares to support a potential pregnancy), but you’re also more likely to crave salty, sugary and fatty snacks — and that can pack on the pounds. In these few days, eating big could add 1 or 2 pounds of fat.

Keep in mind that every woman (and every cycle) is different. If you’re taking birth control pills, hormone prescriptions or fertility drugs, some of these weight changes may be magnified (others may be muted). Just take stock of how your body reacts throughout your cycle so you’re in tune with what’s “normal” for you. And don’t sweat a few extra pounds. Chances are, they’ll disappear after a few days (no matter where you are in your cycle).\

Remedies as outlined by e-how:

Diuretic use. Take an over-the-counter diuretic to quickly flush water from your body and decrease fluid retention. Medications such as Midol relieve symptoms related to menstruation (cramps and headache); and also include a diuretic to ease bloating.

Increase fluid intake. Drink plenty of fluids to stimulate your kidneys and relieve fluid retention. Consume six to eight glasses of water a day. I take a lot of water.

Modify sodium intake. A high-sodium diet increases water retention during your period. To reduce or eliminate bloating, decrease your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day. Fact

Eat to lose water weight. Certain foods have a high water content, and eating these prompts the release of extra water from your body. Consume watermelon, lettuce, cucumbers and berries to lose water weight. Eat your water

Choose potassium-rich foods. Along with eating foods with a high fluid content, potassium-rich foods such as bananas and apricots regulate the fluid level in your body and get rid of excess water. Some vitamins can help at this point too because foods like bananas raises carbs alert.

Exercise more. Frequent exercise prompts sweating, which releases excess fluids in your body. Get active during your period to alleviate water weight. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise per day to relieve fluid retention and bloating. I recommend more than 30 minutes at this point.

Reduce your carbohydrate intake during your menstrual cycle to reduce fluid retention. Carbohydrates bind with water, and this response results in increased weight. Eat a low carb diet during your period to alleviate excess water--no more than 20 to 30g a day. I normally love to increase my protein intake during these days and I always have good rewards for that.

Drink small amounts of caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic and a natural remedy for fluid retention. Drink an 8-oz. glass of soda, coffee or tea to get rid of excess fluid in your body.

Increase exercise intensity. This is the time to workout more especially some high impact exercises if it is good for you. For me exercises like plyometrics and high intervals training is what I do, these help me to burn some extra pounds.

Mind over Matter: I am adding that you should prepare your mind for the cravings, know that they will come and delaying the gratification will help you overpower that unwanted pounds earlier before they even happen.

I am going to try this new knowledge with my next cycle and I hope to bring a better result on the scale.

Thanks for reading.

One of my new recipes, Yamarita, Scotch pepper & egg sauce

Friday, March 18, 2016

Running Plan

When I first started my journey to weight-loss in 2010, one of the easiest exercises for me was running. I loved the environment way back when the morning breeze will blow on my face as I was doing the 5k training. No gadgets to measure my pace, heart rate or speed, I just ran. I did high speed, easy pace and some walking till I am done for 30 minutes every other morning. I was also not alone because I met guys who love to run too.

Fast forward to 2012 and we moved to another place where running was almost impossible (not safe enough). I had to register in a gym very close to the office and my passion for running continued and I even became the leader of a running group on sparkpeople, yay.

2014 I was posted to another department that made going to the gym practically impossible, I tried to adjust my schedules but it looks like every adjustment tightens the space harder.

Since last month I have been following a blog Katie Froster's runsforcookies which sparked running in me again and now I am making plans of running a virtual race at least once a month and let me see how I go from there.
Reasons for me to run

  1. It is an easy workout
  2. You get better with speed the more you run
  3. You need less to run unlike other exercises
  4. I cannot stop running and still be the leader of a running program (leadership by example)
  5. I have a goal of running a mile in 10 minutes (I can do it)
  6. I feel fulfilled after running
  7. My personal trainer has been bothering me
  8. I have to do this for myself.

On a good start I ran 5k yesterday 17th February, 2016. I had wanted to train a little before the virtual race which I had been putting off since the first week in March, but issues kept getting in the way and I couldn't but I did it now and I am really happy with myself.

As I pointed earlier, I did not train and I had not exercised in days and somehow I had so much energy as I started with a 5 minutes warm up on the treadmill with a leisure walk. As I was about to start the race, my trainer came in and he asked what I wanted to do. I started the race with a 2 minutes walk and then a 3 minutes jog and I kept repeating till I had 5k done on the treadmill. I was walking at a 5.5km/h and running at 8km/h and even when I was tempted to increase it I did not because I just wanted to start and finish since I will be having lots more races before the year runs out, I bet there's a lot of room for improvement.

Adding the laps together gives the actual timing

I had my android with me to check the laps at each mile and I was happy with my run because I was to find out later that my last race which was 1 mile was in 2013 (3 years back). I did it all in 43.16 minutes, I know that is a walking time for some but I believe that I will get there with consistency.

I had the treadmill running a little longer. 

I am signing for a virtual race once per month and I will be doing it in the week of birthday throughout this year. I will keep running to be a better runner.

After the race, I felt too light for comfort and I really enjoyed the feeling. I was not really breathless but because of the humidity outside the gym, I was sweating profusely till I showered and rested before returning back to the office (I used my lunch hour).

Meanwhile, I joined a Sparkpeople's 5k walk/jog training plan for 33 days and I hope to do that at home or when there is time to go to the gym to train.

Points to note:

  • The Treadmill recorded over 750cals burning for the running
  • My HRM recorded 415 cals burned (I believe in my HRM)
  • Sparkpeople recorded 268 cals burned

Find me on Instagram (@temitopejopelo) for my picture after the race (I forgot to take a picture of the dashboard of the treadmill after the race).

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Week 2 Weigh in: 170lbs (TOM and other issues)

It is going to be a quick post today because less had happened other than lots of clutter and disorganization, ish.
Today is another weigh in and I can say I did not do badly with a gain of a pound from last week. TOM is here and I normally have a 3lbs gain for other months.

To be candid, I hate making excuses but not when life keeps getting in my way. I have issues with people who are disorganized and they keep assuming that is the way every other person around them is.

I became a little organized after reading Eat That Frog! (21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time). The book is about handling your stuff in the order of importance, the "frog" is actually the activity that is hardest for you and shouldn't be delegated or delayed for another time, this is marked "A", a "B" is what is second most important but that is not so vital but equally necessary. A "C" is an activity that can be delegated or shifted till the other free times, a "D" can be passed on till the next day and so on.

I have my itinerary that way when I am under a lot of pressure from inside and outside. 

Where the issue becomes problematic is when others (outsiders) keep bumping on your plans with their own "troubles". I keep asking why people do that anyway, they really care less if you have plans to either run your own errands or even rest before they include you in theirs. This gets to me a lot and sometimes I wish I can really say a big "NO" without sounding irresponsible. 

To keep the story short, the plan for this week was totally re-directed without any apology. I was doing some 5 - 10 minutes strength training each night, just so my streak on HabitBull app is not broken.

Food is also on point with my streak on intermittent fasting just broken broken two days ago because I had the flu and I needed to take some OTC drugs. 

I am very optimistic that the coming week will be recording a good weight loss.

See you all soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Week 1 Weigh In: 169lbs

Today is week 1 since I decided to stop the monthly challenges and tweaked to weekly plans. That is rather doable for me and I think I am reaping the dividends of the change coupled with intermittent fasting (Church matters). 

My scale had been misbehaving for a while now so I decided to weigh my 10lbs dumbbells this morning before weighing myself, it showed 9.8lbs so I concluded I will be removing 0.2lbs from every of my weigh in pending when I will reward myself with a new scale.

I eventually weighed in at 169.2lbs and that automatically gives me a 169lbs for Wednesday Weigh in. That truly made me happy because I was tired of seeing 170 something every time for the past few weeks now. I was both surprised too because while breaking my fast last night, I ate everything in site including BREAD (my weakness). I was doing this because today was going to be a full day fast no tasting, no water too till breaking period. 

Food is on point because there is no way I would over stuff myself at night when I am breaking the fast, if I do that it will be jeopardizing all efforts of the restrictions. I try to put as much protein as I could and oil/fats. When you are on a fast with the inclusion of calorie restriction, it is better to eat foods high in protein and fats (healthy fats though), it keeps you full longer before the hunger pangs set it. We are eating out tonight and I hope to switch on my healthy eating alert!!!

High Carbs Alert!!! But that is my typical daily consumption

Exercising was fun last week because I danced throughout, at a point I even videoed myself dancing and trust I got the steps right and it was more hilarious seeing myself dancing, I hope to do that again under a better lighting and I may share this online someday.

This week did not start well and I think my schedule was also ambiguous. I had videos like 60 minutes Cardio Conditioning with Bob Harper, 45 minutes hip-hop dance etc. I feel I should have planned lesser minutes, I have to confess that I have not exercise this week and to get my minutes in I cleaned the whole house myself yesterday (45 minutes).

I woke up feeling rather tired again today but because I won't be cooking tonight, I will get my minutes in before bed, I promise myself and my readers to do just that.

See you next week for another update, hoping to record a better loss.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


It's no news that I get bored easily. I think I dislike too long routine and when I hear people say "I eat the same breakfast each day of the week or I had been doing this everyday for 5 years" I am baffled and wondered how they ever cope. Anything that is around for too long bore me out except the DH and surfing the internet, lol.

Don't get me wrong, I have routine that I had been doing for more than 7 years like going to work daily, brushing my teeth every morning, being in church at particular time and days of the week, what I hate is monotony. I love me some spice in everything.

Way Out (if you are like me)
1. Know yourself and determine what works for you
2. Experiment with your own body (you are always the lab rat in this science of weight loss)
3. There is no one-size-fits-all
4. There are lots of gibberish when it comes to physical fitness and healthy eating 
5. Familiarize yourself with your body so that you can bust myths and establish facts
6. Variety is the spice of life
7. Be consistent with whatever plan and method you decide to use

On this note, my zeal to do challenges each month through the first six month of the year (as I slated at the beginning of the year) has crashed, - sorry to disappoint - not totally anyway because now I have tweaked my plan to a weekly routine. I feel weekly is more effective for me and that is what my posts will dwell on for the next few weeks. I will be updating the blog about my plans for the week and if possible results that emanated from my choices.

My Routine
Last week 29th February, 2016 - 5th March, 2016, I danced through the week ranging from Zumba, Hip-Hop etc.

Concerning food, I am tracking, and just breakfast for now, it will help me know what is remaining for the day and what discipline is needed to be on track.

One of the major help I need from myself now is sleeping early so that I am strong and agile enough to meet my workout goals in the morning. For some days now I have not been thinking about it but I have been doing it, I wish this momentum keeps going this way till the week ends then I should have a blast.

I was at 170.4lbs on Monday, that is good news because my last weigh in (Wednesday) was 172.2lbs. I hate standing on the scale but to be candid we cannot part ways for now.  It is good to know that my clothes are looser on me but what am I supposed to do when the scale keeps going in circles. I decided to measure inches to mark my progress but some days I am bloated and I need to know my stand.

Irrespective of what happens, I am intending on trying this new workout/eating plan for the next few weeks and I hope I have some dividends at the end.

Your body is the lab rat, experiment with it and bust myths or establish facts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chicken Roast

I always dreamed about it and now I have done it.

Chicken Roast

1 dressed chicken
1 Tsp Curry Powder
1 Tsp Thyme
5-8 pieces of dry Basil leaves
1 tbs cayenne pepper (powder)
1 stock cube
Salt to taste

1. Mix all the spices in a bowl
2. Rinse the chicken and pat both in and out dry
3. Rub the spice on the chicken and some to go under the skin. Let the spice go round.
4. You can stuff with cooked rice or half boiled potatoes.
5. Tie the legs together and put in the pre-heated oven. Reduce the heat after 20 minutes and cook till done on a low heat.
6. Check the thighs, when it's done leave for 10 more minutes.
7. It is ready to be explored, lol.

Here's mine